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Cervical Cancer Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Health Professional Information [NCI] - Stages IB and IIA Cervical Cancer Treatment


Adjuvant radiation therapy post surgery

Based on recurrence rates in previous clinical trials, two classes of recurrence risk have been defined. Patients with a combination of large tumor size, lymph vascular space invasion, and deep stromal invasion in the hysterectomy specimen are deemed to have intermediate-risk disease. These patients are candidates for adjuvant EBRT.[22] Patients whose pathology shows positive margins, positive parametria, or positive lymph nodes are high-risk candidates for recurrence.

Evidence (adjuvant radiation therapy post surgery):

  1. The Gynecologic Oncology Group (GOG) compared adjuvant radiation therapy alone with radiation therapy plus cisplatin plus fluorouracil (5-FU) after radical hysterectomy for patients in the high-risk group. Postoperative patients were eligible if their pathology showed any one of the following: positive parametria, positive margins, or positive lymph nodes. Patients in both arms received 49 Gy to the pelvis. Patients in the experimental arm also received cisplatin (70 mg/m2) and a 96-hour infusion of 5-FU (1000 mg/m2 /d every 3 weeks for four cycles); the first two cycles were concurrent with the radiation therapy.[6][Level of evidence: 1iiA]
    • There were 268 patients evaluated with a primary endpoint of OS. The study results were reported early because of the positive results in other trials of concomitant cisplatin and radiation therapy.
    • Estimated 4-year survival was 81% for chemotherapy plus radiation therapy and 71% for radiation therapy alone (HR, 1.96; P = .007).
    • As expected, grade 4 toxicity was more common in the chemotherapy plus radiation therapy group, with hematologic toxicity predominating.

Radical surgery has been performed for small lesions, but the high incidence of pathologic factors leading to postoperative radiation with or without chemotherapy make primary concomitant chemotherapy and radiation a more common approach in patients with larger tumors. Radiation in the range of 50 Gy administered for 5 weeks plus chemotherapy with cisplatin with or without 5-FU should be considered in patients with a high risk of recurrence.

Para-aortic nodal disease

After surgical staging, patients found to have small-volume para-aortic nodal disease and controllable pelvic disease may be cured with pelvic and para-aortic radiation therapy.[23] Treatment of patients with unresected para-aortic nodes with extended-field radiation therapy and chemotherapy leads to long-term disease control in patients with low-volume (<2 cm) nodal disease below L3.[18] A single study (RTOG-7920) showed a survival advantage in patients with tumors larger than 4 cm who received radiation therapy to para-aortic nodes without histologic evidence of disease.[24] Toxic effects were greater with para-aortic radiation therapy than with pelvic radiation therapy alone but were mostly confined to patients with previous abdominopelvic surgery.[24] The use of intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) may minimize the effects to the small bowel usually associated with this treatment.[25]

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